Sassafras – Not Invasive

Q: I discovered a sassafras sapling in my front yard eight feet from my home’s foundation. I’m trying to remove all plants that have invasive root systems from near my home. Are sassafras roots invasive?

A: I don’t consider it invasive. The sassafras root system is more of a mat of growth rather than having large roots that swell and crack concrete. On a recent trip to New York I walked the High Line elevated park. I was pleased to see how many sassafras trees had been planted alongside the walking path to provide shade, winter interest, and food for the spicebush caterpillar.